Blue

I -think- this dragonfly is a blue dasher because of the black tip on its abdomen. They are speed demons that can fly up to 35 miles an hour when threatened. I wonder how it tore its wing. And is it painful?

Pachydiplax longipennis
Pachydiplax longipennis

This dragonfly’s wings look brittle — like the thinnest ice that forms on puddles.

dragonfly wings

The blue on the damselfly below seems improbable.

And yeah. Even after record rains the clay soil by the creek was already cracking and even turning to dust in some places. I was always under the impression that this was a bad thing. Not necessarily so. Frequent expansion and contraction helps the soil mulch itself and is part of the reason why we have or historically had such deep top soil in this region.

And it is resilient. The ability to expand and contract makes recovery from compaction possible.

How about that. Some days it seems like everything I thought I knew about gardening was wrong.

damselfly June 2015
Happy Face

Commelina erecta or White-mouth Dayflower is one of those common little flowers that likes to grow in neglected spaces. I ‘rescued’ some from a ditch that was going to be mown last year. Tough plants. Just right for my garden. So far they have survived.

The leaves are super variable. The plants I found have really nice thick leaves that look a bit like Solomon’s Seal but I have seen some with very thin almost grass-like leaves.

Not sure why it is called erecta. Without the support of other plants it tends to flop. This is a plant that needs to mingle with others. Any suggestions? (Do click on the first photo if you want to see fairy dust.)

blue flower

Commelina erecta

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36 thoughts on “Blue

    1. I -love- her blog. And I had no idea about the wax. Neato buritto. But. Now I wonder why the females don’t produce that waxy stuff. hmmm ….

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    1. Thanks. When I was a kid I was kind of afraid of insects. But they have faces! I am not sure if knowing that would have helped but I find it fascinating now.

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  1. Winter heaving, like cracking, helps the soil recover from being compacted. I remind myself of this when I find the plants it kills. Great damselfly picture. You’re right, that is an improbable blue.

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    1. Ah. Yes. I can see how heaving soil might air things out. Even if it does hurt some of the plants. I wonder if there are some plants that have evolved to use that feature positively. I suppose perennial prairie plants with really deep roots probably would have no problem at all coping.

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  2. I just love the colours in the pics, they pop! Oh what an interesting post .. I wonder if their wings do cause pain if damaged. What fabulous macros. Imagine flying 35 miles per hour! That’s amazing …

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    1. Thanks Julie. My guess is that it probably does hurt or at least the wound probably did. They can control all parts of their wings in order to fly which suggests there are some kind of nerve endings there. I’d LOVE to fly 35 miles an hour. Especially with perfect flight: hovering, going backwards, straight up or down. Wow.

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  3. Your dragon- and damselflies are beautiful. I’ve been seeing more of them than usual this year. Your blue dasher photo is lovely! I see we’re not the only ones with cracks in the ground large enough to stick our fingers into even with all of May’s wetness. Glad to know its a natural process. Of course they’re gone now after more rain. :) (Thanks Bill…)Your dayflowers are quite a brilliant blue. We had a large clump appear out of nowhere a few years ago. They’re coming up all over the place now. They also work well in hanging baskets!

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    1. Ohh! Hanging baskets! What a nice idea.
      This has been perfect weather for dragonflies. I am really looking forward to seeing many this year. And I am looking forward to your butterfly bucket event coming up next week.

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  4. I have some of those day flowers here – I am sure I didn’t plant them but I’m delighted to have them as part of the mix. Those little blue flowers are tiny treats but I’ve never been able to capture the color quite so beautifully as you’ve done here. I think they would be great grown in combination with horse herb? Hmmm….

    EVERYthing is flopping over around here – the rain seems to have kicked everything into some “grow past a length you can hold up” mode I’m finding frustrating. If I trim back one leggy plant, everything leaning on it falls over. Do I prune it all back and try to keep things out of paths and off the drive? What about the annuals? Let it all grow on the ground unchecked and know I’ll have extra work to do this autumn clearing back debris? If it keeps raining at current rates further into the summer then all bets are off, because this is certainly no typical growing season! Typical practices may not apply.

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    1. Yes. Horseherb makes perfect sense. It kind of amazes me that some people think horseherb is a weed. It sure is pretty and if a person is patient it can create a thick evergreen mat. Thanks for the suggestion.

      Everything is all floppy. I even had to tie up my Russian sage yesterday. The weight of the water just keeps pushing everything down. It feels a lot like gardening on the west coast.

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    1. Thanks for saying so. I am not anything like real photographers. hahaha. I depend of pure luck. As for the dragonfly? I also have pictures of the stem when it flew away and quite a few blurs …

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  5. Interesting post with some very nice photos. Regarding the first photo of the blue flower; are you like me when photographing flowers in that you often don’t see the bug until you see the picture on the computer screen?

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    1. Crazy isn’t it? When I was looking at the picture on my computer my husband saw the blue from across the room and thought maybe it was a bit of plastic or something. Thanks for the kind words.

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  6. I really like your fact about soil contracting and expanding and mulching at the same time, its quite comforting to know, rather than alarming to look at crevices in the ground. Lovely shots too of the Damselflies Debra. We haven’t got Commelina erecta over here, it look very pretty though even if it doesn’t stand upright.

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  7. Great capture of dragon flies. I have tried to capture some here in Arkansas, but they just won’t land and stay still. Ha Ours are not as colorful as your dragon flies. As for the blue flower, it grows wild here and does quite well at staying erect here. Nice post.

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    1. I think I will know I am any kind of photographer on the day that I could catch one actually flying. I have learned one trick about them — if you see one resting on a leaf or stem they frequently will return to the same spot after they grab a bite to eat. And luckily (since I am not terribly patient) it is usually a short wait.

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  8. Beautiful photos. I love those dashers (and darners and damsels and dragons)–SO interesting and they’re having a ball this year, it seems. The only thing I could find out about the “erect” part of the name is that the plant has several erect branches. Don’t most plants? :)

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    1. heh.
      I really do love all the dragonflies. Maybe if I am lucky I will see a red one like the one living at your pond!

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